USC's BCS Title Chances: 5 Reasons the Trojans Are Down but Not out

Tom ScurlockCorrespondent IIISeptember 17, 2012

Barkley needs to rally his team for the rest of the season
Barkley needs to rally his team for the rest of the seasonEzra Shaw/Getty Images

2012 was supposed to be USC’s year, with quarterback Matt Barkley returning for his senior season with an arsenal of weapons to wreck havoc on the Pac-12 and finally end the SEC’s incredible run of BCS championships.

Stanford didn't get the message.

To the dismay of many in college football, we may not have seen the last of USC.  It will take a small miracle for the Trojans to work their way back in to the BCS picture, but stranger things have happened.

As the saying goes in the land of the BCS, if you’re going to lose, lose early.  USC is hoping this loss will be forgotten by season’s end. 

Here are five reasons USC might make it back to No. 2 and earn a spot in the BCS Title Game.


The Big 12 Is Loaded This Year

Conference play in the Big 12 will be a bloodbath.  West Virginia, Kansas State, Texas, Oklahoma and TCU are all strong.  The odds are slim that one team runs through the Big 12 undefeated. 

Add in games against very competitive teams like Iowa State and Oklahoma State, and the probability gets even slimmer that a team emerges from conference play unscathed. 


Clemson and Florida State Both Have to Play SEC Rivals in Week 12

This Saturday features an early season knockout game for the ACC’s two heavyweights.  The winner is in position for a perfect ACC record, but the road to Miami for both teams hits a severe roadblock on November 24th.

Florida may not make it through the SEC season unblemished, but they have the talent to knock FSU out if the Seminoles are still undefeated when the two teams collide. The game may be in Tallahassee, but the Gators have already proven they can win big road games. 

Clemson faces in-state rival South Carolina, who have clobbered the Tigers over the last three years, on the same day. Beyond winning the SEC, there would be nothing sweeter for the Gamecocks than beating Clemson in Death Valley and keeping them out the BCS Championship game. 


The Trojans Will Have a Chance to Beat Oregon Twice or Stanford in a Rematch

Ideally, USC would benefit from getting a second chance to beat Stanford in the Pac-12 title game.  It would be tough for the voters to ignore a significant win on the road.  Two wins against Oregon would be notable too. 


Notre Dame

There is no bigger fan of the Fighting Irish right now than the Trojans.  They are rolling right now, and a perfect scenario see Notre Dame storming into the Coliseum on Nov. 24th unbeaten.

But that is unlikely. 

Notre Dame faces Michigan and Stanford at home and visits Oklahoma on Oct 27th.  That’s a tough stretch for any team not named Alabama or LSU.  Going 2-1 is possible though, and that would set up an epic game between two of college football’s most storied programs.


The November Schedule

USC’s last four games are against Oregon, Arizona State, UCLA and Notre Dame.  These are prime opportunities to showcase how the Stanford loss was a minor blip in an otherwise great season.

The key might be Matt Barkley’s performance during this stretch.  If he lights up the scoreboard he’ll soar to the top of the Heisman race and puts his team back in the hunt for the championship. 

More importantly, the schedule for both LSU and Alabama after their clash on Nov. 3rd is not too daunting.  The loser will have little opportunity to score another important win to get back into the race.

USC’s chances of making it to the BCS Championship took a significant hit with their loss to Stanford.  With a tremendous amount of help, USC can play its way back into picture. The only problem is they may regret it since no team looks good enough to beat Alabama or LSU at this point.